October 24, 2019

Indianapolis Businessman, Civic Leader, Philanthropist, P.E. MacAllister Dies At 101

Pershing Edwin "P.E." MacAllister - Courtesy MacAllister Machinery Co.

Pershing Edwin "P.E." MacAllister

Courtesy MacAllister Machinery Co.

Pershing Edwin "P.E." MacAllister, prominent Indianapolis businessman, civic leader and philanthropist, died Wednesday. He was 101.

MacAllister moved to Indianapolis in 1945, after serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an armament officer during World War II, to work for his father at MacAllister Machinery Co. He started in the warehouse and worked his way up through the company to serve as president, and eventually chairman of the board.

The business now covers Indiana and Michigan and has 2,500 employees, according to its website. In September, Vice President Mike Pence made a stop at MacAllister Machinery's headquarters on the southeast side as he campaigned for a proposed trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, known as the USMCA. 

MacAllister grew interested in politics in the late 1960s, beginning with Richard Lugar's mayoral campaigns, and he became prominent figure in Indiana Republican politics. In a statement, Pence remembered MacAllister as a mentor. 

“P.E. MacAllister was a titanic figure in Indiana Republican politics and was one of my first political supporters and a lifelong friend and mentor. He wasn’t just a mentor to me but was a mentor to an entire generation of great conservative leaders," Penc said in the statement. "P.E.’s true memorial is a strong and vibrant city of Indianapolis. Karen and I are praying for his family. He will be deeply missed.”  

Others joined Pence in crediting MacAllister with helping to shape the city, including Mayor Joe Hogestt.

“The greatness of P.E. is that he was not one thing, he was many things. A veteran, a businessman, a civic leader, and a philanthropist – his impact on our community cannot be overstated," Hogsett said. "Over the course of P.E.’s life, our city rapidly evolved and much of the vibrancy we enjoy today is a direct reflection of P.E.’s generosity and vision.”

MacAllister was president of the city’s Capital Improvement Board during construction of the Indiana Convention Center and Hoosier Dome. The stadium helped to lure the Colts away from Baltimore in 1984.

In addition to his civic leadership, MacAllister was a prominent patron of the arts in Indianapolis. He was a longtime president of the Indianapolis Opera and established the MacAllister Awards, known as the nation's largest non-restricted vocal competition for opera singers. He also served as chair of the Fine Arts Society of Indianapolis. 

MacAllister served on several other boards of organizations. He was an elder, deacon and trustee of the Northminster Presbyterian Church, served on the board of trustees of his alma mater Carroll College and was a trustee of the Christian Theological Seminary.

Among the numerous recognitions for his community service, five Indiana governors -- Otis Bowen, Bob Orr, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence and Eric Holcomb -- presented MacAllister with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award. He was also presented with the state's highest honor, the Sachem Award, by Gov. Pence in 2014.

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